FC Bayern München in the Schachbundesliga 2021/22

FC Bayern München, the football club we all know and love. But did you know that there is a very different sport (indeed, some argue it isn't even a sport - a whole other can of worms!), where FC Bayern also fields a team in the top flight of German competition? Where there is a Rekordmeister not named Bayern? As an avid enthusiast of both FC Bayern and the game of chess, it brings me great pleasure to present the recently concluded season of the Schachbundesliga, or German Chess League. We will, of course, focus on our beloved FCB, and cheer on the players wearing our club's badge, but we will also look at some marquee matchups elsewhere in the table.

Some quick words about the format (details here): 16 teams play over 15 matchdays, with the bottom 4 relegated. In each match, teams field 8 players out of a roster of 16 to go head-to-head in a classical time-control game (board 1 vs board 1, board 2 vs board 2, and so on). Barring some minor tactical tweaks, the boards typically go in decreasing order of playing strength. A win on each board counts for 1 point, a draw for 0.5 and a loss for 0. A score of 4.5 or higher out of 8 gives the team 2 match points, and a 4-4 draw gives both teams 1 point each, which counts towards their position in the table. If teams are tied on match points, board points and head-to-head result count as tiebreaks. Also, there are usually no home/away fixtures as such, with all 8 matches of a round played in the same hall, and typically 2 rounds in a weekend spread across the season. The sad reality of team events in an individual sport, with the number of top-level events happening nowadays, is that it is hard to have the players available too regularly - hence the limited number of rounds, and even then many teams could not call upon their stars for a single round. Oh, and there's no Champions League of sorts to look forward to - players play for teams in multiple national leagues.

Where do the teams stand? FC Bayern went in as 8th seeds based on average rating, with the roster averaging out at 2501. The record champions and top seeds are OSG Baden-Baden, gunning for their 15th title in the last 16 seasons(!), and 6th straight since being pipped by SG Solingen in 2015/16. Their roster average is 2667, and top 10 average an eye-watering 2741, featuring top stars like Fabiano Caruana (rated 2776), Levon Aronian (2775), Richard Rapport (2754), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2757), Anish Giri (2760) and Vishwanathan Anand (2756). The closest challengers, other than SG Solingen, who are known for their strong Dutch contingent (in spite of long-time spearhead Giri defecting to OSG - seem familiar? wink wink), are SC Viernheim, who have Azeri star Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2759) on top board, and a host of 2700-calibre players. The entire rating statistics and squads can be found here, but are arranged in the order in which the teams finished this season - so don't click just yet if you don't want any spoilers.

FC Bayern's regular top board is two-time German (individual) champion GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2611), who, other than being a very strong player, is an excellent educator, and posts lots of excellent videos on his YouTube - highly recommended for German speakers. Our roster (again, contains spoilers about our season performance) boasts strong contingents from:

  • Spain, featuring GMs Jaime Santos Latasa (rated 2675, member of the Spanish team for the Olympiad), Miguel Santos Ruiz (2578) and Alvar Alonso Rosell (2564)
  • Switzerland, including GMs Sebastian Bogner (2545), Nicolas Georgiadis (2578) (both Swiss team members for the Olympiad), the now-retired Noёl Studer (2582), and IM Oliver Kurmann (2463)
  • Sweden, featuring IMs Linus Johansson (2468) and Martin Lokander (2483).

Other mainstays of our team are Austrian GM Valentin Dragnev (2557), German IM Michael Fedorovsky (2417), veteran GM Klaus Bischoff (2491) and the master-strength but untitled Belarussian Alexander Zajogin (2409). A special mention goes to the 70-year-old Hungarian legend GM Zoltán Ribli (2528), who has been competing at the elite level for 50 years, and stepped in to hold fort whenever needed!

We have been consistently a mid-table side in recent years, with the potential to make a push for the podium never quite realized. Maybe this will be the breakthrough season? Let's find out!

(Disclaimer: I tried in vain to insert entire games in the recap, which seemed fine in the editing window, but did not actually work. I'm not a fan of using GIFs for this purpose, since they don't let the viewer control the pace. I had to content myself with using specific positions - always shown from white's point of view, and the moves in standard algebraic notation. I've tried my best to make it clear who is playing which colour and whose move it is in each case. The full games can all be found on chess24 here.)

Rounds 1-2: Off to a flyer!

The first round saw FCB cruise to an impressive undefeated 5.5-2.5 win over SF Berlin, as Jaime Santos Lasata (hereon JSL for short) took down two-time Polish champion and five-time chess problem-solving champion GM Kacper Piorun (2636), in 34 moves with black, no less, on board 1, to set the stage for a chanceless display. Dragnev would also win with black on board 5, while arguably the game of the round came from Nico Georgiadis on board 4, as he seized control early on against another Pole, the 20-year-old GM Szymon Gumularz (2519), and finished by shredding open black's kingside to deliver checkmate.

Georgiadis vs Gumularz, final position

This was the final position after 40. Qg4+. Black resigned, since Qg7# next is unavoidable.

We would better(!) this performance by beating tail-enders SG König Tegel 6-2 in Round 2, with 5 wins ensuring that IM Linus Johansson's loss on board 6 was a mere blip. JSL, Nico and Dragnev all won again, as did IM Martin Lokander for his first win of the season, but the most striking finish came on bottom board from IM Michael Fedorovsky.


With the black pieces here, he played 45...Kc8! which leaves ALL of white's pieces under attack! Mert Acikel resigned since he will lose a piece in the end.

Rounds 3-4: What goes up...

The big question was how long we could keep up this excellent start, as clashes with heavyweights SC Viernheim and SG Solingen loomed. The short answer: not for too long, though it wasn't all bad.

Viernheim summarily beat us 5.5-2.5, with Mamedyarov taking down JSL on top board, and Sven Bogner and Alonso Rosell losing to Spanish #3 GM David Anton Guijarro (2667) and Egypt #1 GM Bassem Amin (2680, the highest-rated medical doctor in history!) respectively. IM Oliver Kurmann would score a nice win for us on board 6, as GM Arik Braun (2594, the world's first GM chessboxer!) missed one chance to salvage the game and allowed a queen sacrifice to finish.


Black just took a pawn on e4, pinning white's queen to the king, but 41. Bxc8 Bxc2+ 42. Rxc2 and white's pawn promotes, leaving black helplessly behind in material.

But it would prove little consolation, as GM Thal Abergel (2411) beat FM Makan Rafiee (2332) on bottom board, absorbing white's attack and delivering a crushing final blow of his own.


In this position, 42...Rd2! was curtains down, using the threat of back-rank mate to trade a pair of rooks after 43. Qb3 (or Qf3), when black is just up a rook with a safe king. Rafiee simply resigned rather than play on.

An encounter with SG Solingen immediately after seemed ominous, but the team rose to the occasion. Despite being outrated on every board, a 4-4 draw followed, and it could have been much more. Rafiee set the tone with a crushing 25-move win with black over FM Jonas Roseneck (2384) on board 8, and with advantages on a couple of boards, it seemed like we could even score an upset win!


Closing stages of Roseneck vs Rafiee. White is overextended, and Rafiee found 20...Rxc6! 21. dxc6 Nb6, pinning the white bishop in two different directions, winning 4 moves later.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. JSL huffed and puffed, but Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna (2720) held on to draw a worse position on board 1, while Bogner let his advantage slip against the outstanding Dutch player and author GM Erwin l'Ami (2634) and ultimately lost in a sharp rook endgame. Objectively not the worst result, but could have been much better.

Rounds 5-7: We're... fighting for the podium?

The team seemed to take it in their stride, however, and delivered a hat-trick of wins against relegation-threatened sides.

First, we edged out Augsburg 4.5-3.5. Johansson, on board 3, got his king hunted to death by veteran Lithuanian GM Eduardas Rozentalis (2531), but his compatriot Lokander won again on board 4, this time a smooth win over Bulgarian GM Petar Arnaudov (2462), while Alonso Rosell picked up his first win vs Serbian GM Nikola Nestorovich (2463) on board 2.

We would beat USV TU Dresden by the same scoreline, with our Swedish duo of Johansson and Lokander delivering full points to compensate a loss on board 8. The former picked up his first win of the season with a well-played rook endgame.

The next round saw another big win over tail-enders Aachener SV, with GM Klaus Bischoff's unlucky blunder in a drawn but tricky opposite-coloured bishop endgame the lone blemish. Curiously, of the 5 wins, three of them ended with checkmate on the board, an unusual event at top level - GM Niclas Huschenbeth on top board, who was back on the team since Round 5 and grabbed his first win after two draws, Alexander Zajogin on his season debut on board 6, and Fedorovsky on board 7. The remaining wins came from Dragnev on 3rd board and veteran IM Peter Meister (2347), also on his first game, on board 8, for a 6-2 scoreline.

Rounds 8-10: A mixed bag - we'll take it!

Unfortunately, the momentum was brought to a screeching halt with the narrowest of defeats to Düsseldorfer SK, with Huschenbeth's board 1 defeat to the strong Ukranian GM Andrei Volokitin (2672), also a two-time national champion, the only decisive result. The team had chances to level the match: Santos Ruiz was better on board two against the English youngster GM Ravi Haria (2505), who neutralized it in short order; Fedorovsky, on board 6, missed a knockout blow against FM Michael Coenen (2320) in mutual time-trouble and allowed a nice defensive resource.


In this position, the brave 24. Rd4! would have been the way to go, either trading rooks favourably or swinging it over to the kingside to join the attack. Black's king perishes in either case. Instead, Fedorovsky's safer 24. g3, avoiding back-rank issues, allowed 24...Nc6!, using the pin to swing the knight back to help in the defence. Michael tried to make progress for a few more moves, but in vain.

In round 9, FC Bayern went up against die Rekordmeister - now that's a statement none of us are likely to hear in our lifetimes as far as football is concerned! Baden-Baden, despite resting nearly all of their elite stars, still outrated us heavily on each board, and won 5-3. The team certainly gave a good account of themselves, but it just wasn't enough. Spain #1/2 Francisco Vallejo-Pons (2702) beat Huschenbeth with black on board 1 in a wild game in the French defence (highly recommend that you check it out), while GM Arkadij Naiditsch (2664) beat Johansson on board 6.

In what could have been the highlight of the round, however, Zajogin, on board 8, was within inches of pulling off a 200-point rating upset. GM Georg Meier (2613) has a reputation of being rock-solid, and was one of the strongest players in Germany before moving to Uruguay recently over personal issues with a fellow top player. Zajogin had him on the ropes, and was doing it in style with a piece sacrifice and kingside attack. However, time-trouble forced him to take a draw by perpetual, in a position where reinforcing his attack would have given him an overwhelming advantage.


37...Qc7, for instance, followed by ...Re5, would have swarmed white's king, but the win was still highly nontrivial, especially with little time. Zajogin chose to repeat moves with 37...Ne2+ 38. Kg2 Nf4+.

Yet again, the team showed exemplary character to bounce right back with a very impressive 5-3 win over Schachfreunde Deizisau, who were so far undefeated and had notched up some big wins, including 3(!) 7.5-0.5 scores. In spite of three draws on the top boards and Dragnev losing on board 4 with an unfortunate blunder against the strong German youngster GM Dmitrij Kollars (2648), our lower boards delivered 3 wins despite sporting their opponents at least 100 points each. Johansson took down GM Andreas Heimann (2582) on board 6, with another well-played endgame where he judged the conversion to perfection. Bischoff, on board 5, beat a fellow veteran, the Croat Olympiad team player-coach GM Zdenko Kožul (2602), with the black pieces, as one error suddenly gave him a devastating attack. But it was Zajogin on board 8 who delivered the highlight once more, this time actually pulling off an almost 200-point upset over Polish legend and the country's first 2700-rated player GM Michał Krasenkow (now rated 2569), as he refuted some overly aggressive play by black and delivered a silent killer blow.


23. Qd1!, with the dual threat of winning the bishop on d7 and delivering mate with 24. Qh5+, and Krasenkow resigned on move 25.

Heading into the final 5 rounds, played over 4 days between July 7-10, the team had an impressive record of 6 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses, and had already played the top 4. They sat firmly in the top half, and if they could cash in on a somewhat easier run-in, they would even make push for third place!

Rounds 11-13: Bitter.

Unfortunately, the first of these five rounds promptly diffused any excess optimism. A bruising 2.5-5.5 defeat to SV Mülheim Nord, a match where we actually had the rating edge on all boards but one. That was top board, where, ironically, Huschenbeth was winning for the longest time with black vs Czech #1 David Navara (2688), but again had to take a draw by perpetual check in mutual time-trouble. Santos Ruiz, Bogner and Zajogin were all pressing in their games, but none of them could convert their advantage, and disaster struck elsewhere. The talented duo of Dutch youngsters, IMs Thomas Beerdsen (2500) and Liam Vrolijk (2462), took down Dragnev and Bischoff on boards 4 and 5, while Oliver Kurmann, on board 7, fell prey to an instructive Greek gift from IM Valentin Buckels (2465).


Kurmann's last move, 15...Qd6, allowed 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 19. Qxf7+ and the bishop on b7 falls, leaving white two pawns up. Buckels was able to extricate his queen from the black position and won with his extra pawns.

Thus far, the team had shown excellent responses to losses, so hopes were still high, but we crashed to another defeat against (avert your eyes, Marko!) SV Werder Bremen, a 5-3 score where all but two games were decisive. One of the two draws was Huschenbeth against the 19-year-old Ukrainian talent GM Kirill Shevchenko (2654) in a topsy-turvy game, where both sides were winning at some point. Despite Bogner and Dragnev both bouncing back with wins over Bremen's Frenchmen, GMs Laurent Fressinet (rated 2631, and Magnus Carlsen's long-time second) and Romain Edouard (2588), we were dealt four chanceless losses. English erstwhile prodigy GM Luke McShane (2649) beat Santos Ruiz, GM Lucas van Foreest (at 2575 only the second-strongest sibling, after Dutch #2 Jorden) beat Lokander, and the young talent FM Lara Schulze (2292) got a nice win against Rafiee. Zajogin also suffered his first loss, as the experienced Czech GM Vlastimil Babula (2571) chased his queen around and then trapped it in the middle of the board.


This is a good place to pause and look at the rest of the table, with FC Bayern having comfortably avoided relegation, but our top 4 hopes all but over. Baden-Baden and Viernheim had both won all of their matches so far, but the challengers were far ahead on board points, having posted some Flick-like scorelines (including a perfect 8-0!). Solingen and Deizisau were likely to hold on to third and fourth. The final three matchdays at the top could not have been set up better, with the top two taking on each other in Round 14, either side of clashes with Solingen and Deizisau. At the other end, Konig Tegel and Aachener SV were doomed long since, with Augsburg, Düsseldorf and Dresden fighting for the last spot outside the drop. The latter was in pole position, with a slender lead in points and a substantial one in board points.

In round 13, Augsburg drew against Dresden, while Düsseldorf beat bottom side Aachener, to narrow the gaps even further. At the other end, Viernheim and Baden-Baden both took care of business, beating Solingen and Deizisau respectively by identical 5-3 scorelines, setting up a mouthwatering clash later that same day.

Meanwhile, FCB had a derby to attend to against Münchener Schachclub 1836. The fellow Munich club had also fallen short of a podium charge, largely due to the absence of some of their star players who were having excellent tournaments: notably Iran #1 Parham Maghsoodloo (2701), Croatian #1 Ivan Šarić (2680) (both presumably preparing for the Olympiad), and Ukrainian GM Pavel Eljanov (2681), trapped in his embattled home country (his hometown is Kharkiv). Though a mid-table clash with nothing but pride to play for, that was enough motivation, as both teams came out swinging. Huschenbeth was playing black on board 1 against the English GM and author Gawain Jones (2652), renowned for his tactical ability and creative attacking play. However, it was Niclas who landed a stunning knockout blow.


With his rook, knight and queen under attack, Niclas uncorked 33...Rc1!!, the only move which avoids defeat and completely turns the tables. After 34. Rxc1 Nxe5, black's queen and knights launched a massive attack on white's weakened king.

This fine game would only level the match, though, as Lokander's little king adventure on board 4 was cut brutally short by the young Austrian IM Dominik Horvath (2488).


White's king, faced with invasion from behind (straight face), moved forward from g3 to f4, but met an equally swift death in this position with 43...Qxe3+! 44. Kxe3 f4#

This was only the beginning of the drama. On board 5, Oliver Kurmann agreed to a draw against fellow IM Maximilian Berchtenbreiter (2510), in a position where he was a pawn up but the engine evaluated as completely winning for him, foreseeing a manoeuvre which would enable him to pick off more pawns. Santos Ruiz was also close to winning on board 2, but the Serbian GM Aleksander Indjić (2620) found a clever liquidation into an endgame of rook+knight vs rook, and defended it perfectly for a draw in 103 moves. That left all eyes on board 8, where Rafiee was on the defensive against another Serbian GM, the experienced player and coach Branko Tadić (2461). He was close to a draw in a deceptively complicated rook endgame, but the natural 45. Rd3 met a superb refutation.


Rafiee's move threatens Rd6+ to win the black rook, and looks good if black has nothing better than to step back. Black wins if and only if he finds 45...f6! 46. exf6 (46. Rd6+ Ke7 doesn't help matters) h3!, and Tadić did. The h-pawn draws white's king as far from the queenside as possible, and after white captures it and trades rooks, black's king is quicker across the board and feasts on the white pawns. An instructive finish!

So the narrowest of losses in the derby, and it would now be a challenge to finish even in the top half of the table. Oh well, onwards and upwards!

Round 14: Matchday of the season!

This was it! A matchday potentially deciding both the champions (in fact, the entire top 3) and the relegation spots. And my word, did it live up to its billing!

The relegation spots were indeed decided, as Dresden dispatched Aachener SV 6.5-1.5 to confirm their safety as Augsburg and Düsseldorf battled to a 4-4 draw in a relegation 4-pointer, a result which saw both of them mathematically relegated. The latter would be particularly disappointed, as they had a strong mid-table calibre roster, but many of their top players could not play too many games and it somehow never clicked for them (except against us, dammit!).

Closer to the top, Solingen edged out Deizesau 4.5-3.5 to clinch third place. Despite the latter fielding a uniformly strong lineup and the FFL GM Gata Kamsky (2655) beating Austrian #1 GM Markus Ragger (2647) on board two, two of the four Dutchmen in the Solingen lineup struck back, as GMs Max Warmerdam (2610) and Loek van Wely (2624) beat Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta (2627) and Zdenko Kožul on boards 4 and 6, both with the black pieces.

That brings us to the summit clash, where the reigning champions rolled out an insanely strong lineup, featuring world championship candidates GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Richard Rapport, and former world #2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. However, it seemed for the longest time that the challengers Viernheim would all but mathematically seal the title. The vaunted OSG top 3 seemed unable to trouble Mamedyarov and the strong Ukranian duo of GMs Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2672) and Anton Korobov (2692), while the legendary Latvian GM Alexei Shirov (2704, now representing Spain) seemed to be ropes after misplaying the opening against Bassem Amin on board 5, and Arkadij Naiditsch on bottom board went for a wild attack which left him objectively losing.

However, as they have a wont to do, the record champions found a way when there was none. GM David Wagner (2569) did not play a winning regrouping move, and allowed Naiditsch a draw by repetition, while Shirov diffused the dangers to his position and drew in short order. In fact, all games but two were drawn, and those looked likely to end in draws as well - and a 4-4 decision would still leave Viernheim in pole position going into the final day. Enter Paco Vallejo, who suddenly spotted a nice tactic to win a pawn against his compatriot David Anton. The other ongoing game had Richard Rapport up a pawn in a drawish rook endgame against Kryvoruchko. A win in either one would do, and Vallejo obliged, steadily converting his advantage in 83 moves. Rapport needed only a draw to clinch the match win, but the man renowned as the most creative player in the world, who generally creates chaos on the board, won an uncharacteristic game by grinding down his opponent in a dry, technical position, where the decisive error happened on move 70 and resignation on move 77. A 5-3 match win, and OSG would need to beat their old foes Solingen on the final matchday to guarantee the title.

Away from the limelight, meanwhile, FCB had yet another mid-table clash against Hamburger SK, who missed out on the services of Polish #1 Jan-Krzysztof Duda (2750) for the entire tournament, but had a strong team nonetheless. It proved to be an absolute barnburner of a match, with plenty of fireworks and several decisive games. Poor old Martin Lokander, who had come up clutch multiple times in earlier rounds, failed to recover from last round's mishap and lost to the veteran Slovak GM Ljubomir Ftaćnik (2483), who has played in the Bundesliga for over 25 years! Kurmann struck back to beat GM Thies Heinemann (2501), refuting black's odd play in a sharp Sicilian Najdorf. Losses on 6th and 8th board followed, as Zajogin lost to Romanian GM Dorian Rogozenko (2430), and Peter Meister to fellow German IM Frank Bracker (2366). However, two points down, there was still hope, as there was absolute mayhem on the top 3 boards.

Santos Ruiz won a crushing game with black against the strong German GM Rasmus Svane (2649), as he showed how to beat the London system by throwing an avalanche of pawns forward, even at the expense of his queen, with white's army completely pinned back and powerless to stop one of them from promoting. It's a game well worth enjoying in its entirety, but I give the final position here.


Bogner, who had a pawn on the seventh rank for a while, missed a fleeting chance to beat GM Jonas Lampert (2547) on board 3 and tie the match, by boxing in black's rook and forcing the pawn through. So it was down to Huschenbeth to defeat his second virtuoso of the day in Swedish #1 Nils Grandelius (2655), and you'd best believe our boy was going to try. In a sharp line of the Open Ruy Lopez known as the Dilworth attack, with material imbalances and tactical complications appearing early on, he sacrificed a piece for a vicious attack, and refused a draw by perpetual. While the position was still objectively equal, it was hard to defend for black, and Grandelius erred, leading to a winning endgame as Niclas' pawns marched down the board. However, that old foe, time-trouble, struck again, as one misstep allowed Nils to sacrifice back into an opposite-coloured bishop endgame in which the white pawns were improbably blockaded. It was another game which no single moment could do justice to, and you can watch it here.

A draw on top board, and a 4.5-3.5 defeat in the match. Pretty much a microcosm of the season: fighting hard, but falling agonizingly short in the end.

Round 15: Formalities.

Bayern did finish their season well, with a 5-3 win against fifth-place SK Doppelbauer Turm Kiel. Huschenbeth drew against the strong US junior GM Hans Niemann (2688) on top board, a tense struggle in a Najdorf Sicilian where Niclas missed a difficult winning idea in the endgame, and then had to defend accurately to hold. GM Zoltán Ribli, who had drawn all 4 of his games so far, closed out his season with another draw against the strong Polish IM Paweł Teclaf (2648), over 50 years his junior! Fedorovsky lost to Latvian GM Nikita Meshkovs (2535) on board 5, erring in the follow-up to a nice exchange sacrifice, but three wins saw out the match comfortably. Zajogin ended an excellent season, which saw him gain lots of rating and an IM norm, with a clean win over Romanian IM David Gavrilescu (2525). Peter Meister also won smoothly against IM Ashot Paravyan, but the highlight was Oliver Kurmann picking up an impressive win over the 18-year-old Danish #1 Jonas Buhl Bjerre (2608), where he navigated the complications superbly and duly converted his advantage.


Bjerre's last move, 26. Ng5, attacks the rook on h7 and threatens Rb7 to target the f-pawn (and, if it moves, the g7-bishop). Kurmann found the cold-blooded counterattack 26...f4!: if the white rook moves to safety, 26...Bf6 pins and wins the knight. The young Dane fought on with 27. Rg4!, using the pin on the h5-pawn, but 27...Rb8! was a crushing reply, forcing a trade of rooks and white's weak back rank is telling. Kurmann converted his advantage flawlessly.

A tenth-place finish, but just three points off fourth. One can't help but wonder what could have been with a bit more luck in the last few rounds.

Now to the clashes at the top of the table, where Solingen could still play bogeyman against OSG, who chose to rest Richie Rapport after last round's heroics. But there would be no further plot-twists, as the reigning champions won the match convincingly. Naiditsch, in typical style, beat IM Georg Halvax (2424) after taking massive risks and almost ending up dead lost. In a clash of last round's heroes, Paco Vallejo emerged victorious once again, beating Max Warmerdam to seal the championship for Baden-Baden. The other hero of Solingen's last round would lose as well - Loek van Wely, now a politician for the Dutch far-right party JA21 and member of the national Senate, has been a crusader for black in the open Sicilian longer than I've been alive, but he risked too much in trying to hit back for his team and went down to his contemporary, the veteran English GM Mickey Adams (2696). 5.5-2.5 to OSG Baden-Baden, who win all 15 matches to retain their crown, their 15th title in 16 seasons! With Viernheim drawing Deizesau, the margin of victory was an ultimately comfortable 3 points.

Closing Thoughts

To conclude with some quick takeaways: for one, the Schachbundesliga is definitely getting stronger. Though largely a two-horse race, this was in part down to top players in various teams indisposed, among other things due to the Russia-Ukraine war, a second World Championship cycle in as many years, as well as the Chess Olympiad in Chennai coming up (which yours truly can hopefully make the trip to watch one day of). We seem to have at least 3 teams which can mount a serious challenge to the runaway champions, and several strong mid-table teams looking to make the next step. Congratulations again to OSG Baden-Baden, whose success we at FC Bayern hope to emulate elsewhere!

Will we see more global stars like Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja play in the German top flight? The latter, possibly, but unlikely in my opinion for the former two - unless one of the top clubs shells out big money.

As for Bayern, this was a strange season - the team seemed set to defy expectations and go toe-to-toe with the big boys heading into the home stretch, but just lost out in some relatively easier matches on paper. Regardless, I congratulate each and every member of the team, who gave their absolute best. We know you'll be back stronger than ever, and we will always root for you here at BFW. Mia san mia!

(Oh and Hainer and co., wouldn't hurt if you can get our team some strong players - even one would have a ripple effect, allowing us to field a stronger player on each lower board.)

P.S.: This is my first fanpost, and decidedly removed from football. So let me know your thoughts in the comments below - any questions or criticism is most welcome! I'll see you around in the Comments section on BFW posts, where I usually hang out. That's all from me for now!

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bavarian Football Works readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of BFW editors or staff. Visit our Fanpost section at the top of the page.